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MATCH REPORTS 1999/2000
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FEBRUARY 2000

Saturday 26 February 2000
Chester City 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 7 (Seven)

Chester City: Brown, Hobson, Pickering, Lancaster, Hicks, Keister, Porter, Hemmings, Moss, Beckett, Eyjolfsson. Subs (to be allocated): Finney, Fisher, Reid, Doughty, Blackburn.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Walton, Watson, Mayo, McPherson, Freeman, Oatway, Aspinall (Rogers 79), Brooker, Zamora (Ramsay 72), Crosby, Hart. Subs not used: Ormerod, Carr, Armstrong.
Referee: A.Hall (Birmingham)

It's not every weekend that you see history being made - but that was the case at the Deva. It's the first time I've seen a referee in a fluorescent green shirt. Mr Hall and his two extremely portly linesman cut a dash when they emerged prior to kick off . Oh and there was also the matter of Chester's worst ever home defeat. I can't think of a worse one can you?

Woods had failed a fitness test in the morning - tonsilitis apparently - so Martyn Lancaster came into the defence to partner debutant Stuart Hicks. The game began brightly enough with Chester forcing a corner and Siggi having a promising shot muffled. But Brighton soon began to dominate. Paul Brooker on loan from Fulham on the left of midfield gave Moss and Pickering a torrid time. Even the overweight Warren Aspinall was allowed to dominate midfield. It was following Aspinall's deft pass that Bob Zamora (On loan from Bristol Rovers) made a run on goal with Lancaster seeming to push him wide. Zamora got a weak shot in which somehow managed to bounce over Brown's arm for a soft goal. Brown beat the ground in frustration. Three minutes later it was two - nil and the escape plan looked in tatters. A flicked header at the near post was bundled in by Zamora at the far one. Brown was so incensed he booted the ball furiously away and pole-axed Keister who needed to receive treatment as a result.

Still we hoped that if City could just get one back before half time then we might salvage a point. The best chances fell to Hemmings – a header over the bar and a shot after he had cut inside also just too high. We were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box though Crosby – who manhandled Siggi all match – seemed to have clattered him inside the penalty area. The free kick came to nothing, but the weak referee after pacing out ten yards allowed the Brighton wall to remain at eight. Crosby then cynically clobbered Hemmings after the whistle had gone for offside - causing what I understand to be a very nasty injury. Needless to say the ref didn't see it.

Contrary to newspaper reports, Fisher came on at half time for the injured Hemmings. Any optimism we harboured for a City revival quickly evapourated when McPherson was allowed to head in from within the six yard box through a static defence just four minutes after the break. Brown then lost his rag and started mouthing obscenities back to the Sealand End as one or two were blaming him for the goals. Soon after he was picking the ball out of the net again as he let a shot from Brooker under his body. This was too much to bear for Brown and the next opportunity he got he raced out of his goal to send an attacker flying – the ball heading aimlessly for touch at the time. Everyone, Brown included, expected a red card but the referee decided staying on the pitch was the greater punishment. Zamora duly completed his hat trick from the spot.

Brighton now could score at will, the stuffing having completely gone out of City. Freeman did so at the second attempt at the far post after Brown had parried his close range shot. Doughty came on for Keister and he and Fisher linked up effectively for spells as the match took on the air of an exhibition game. Finney came on and set up a goal for Beckett. A goal that was greeted with cheers from Brighton and Chester fans alike. Embarrassingly the Blur music played over the tannoy. The Sealand End sang "You're not singing any more" to the visitors.

Rogers, on for Aspinall, completed the rout with a spectacular volley from outside the box - even City fans applauded that one.

Where do we go from here? It has to be Exeter and hope for better things.

Colin Mansley

Friday 18 February 2000
Swansea City 2
Chester City 1

Swansea City: Freestone, Howard, Bound, O'Leary (Alsop 53), S.Jones, Coates (Casey 80), Cusack, Thomas, Price, Watkin, Boyd, Alsop (Bird 90). Subs not used: J.Jones, Evans.
Chester City: Brown, Hobson, Woods, Robinson, Pickering, Hemmings (Fisher 79), Porter, Keister (Richardson 75), Moss, Beckett, Eyjolfsson. Subs not used: Finney, Doughty, Lancaster.
Referee: P Walton (Northants).

Chester were just minutes away from one of the shock results of the season before conceding two cruel late goals at the Vetch Field. The first half was Chester's best of the season as they created two glorious chances in the opening minutes, unfortunately Luke Beckett wasted both opportunities, misplacing a crucial pass to Eyjolfsson and then failing to convert from the Icelandic's cross.

Wayne Brown saved from former Wrexham player Steve Watkin before Chester deservedly took the lead with a great goal. John Keister, who had a great game in midfield, won possession jut outside the box and fed the ball to Eyjolfsson whose 20 yarder found the bottom corner to send the small pocket of away fans into raptures.

The Swans could only muster two other chances in the first half, Watkin shooting wide from 10 yards from the best of them.

Following the break Swansea brought on Alsop and reverted to 'route one', though the Chester defence still held out with few problems. Of the chances that were created, Watkin and Price both shot weakly at Wayne Brown.

Keister, who, like Luke Beckett had run tirelessly all night was replaced with 15 minutes remaining by Nick Richardson and manager Ian Atkins also decided to withdraw Tony Hemmings, having his best game for City, and replacing him with Neil Fisher. Fisher was soon in the action clearing off he line from Alsop before things started to go horribly wrong for City.

With just eight minutes remaining, skipper Gary Hobson turned a left wing cross into his own net. And then with the referee playing over five minutes of added time, Watkin rose to send a looping header over Wayne Brown.

Speaking of the added time referee Pete Walton said: "I added a half a minute for each substitution, so there's two and a half minutes for a start. Chester used delaying tactics twice and I had to warn them although I can't remember the incidents."

City manager Ian Atkins was furious after the game: "Again you have to look at the referee. The last three games we have suffered with bad decisions from officials. Last week the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced a yard over the line and a goal wasn't given. Against Rochdale, they scored a last minute goal from a free kick, a free kick that never should have been given. Then I can't believe what I've seen tonight. Their first goal is from a free kick that should have been our throw in, and then he conjures up four minutes of injury time when there hasn't been a physio on the pitch. I can't accept that and I can't accept that half a minute is added on every time there is a substitution. It just baffles me sometimes how referee's can make these decisions."

Saturday 12 February 2000
Chester City 0
Hull City 0

Chester City: Brown, Pickering, Woods, Robinson, Hobson, Moss, Keister (Richardson 72), Hemmings (Doughty 67), Eyjolesson, Beckett, Porter. Subs not used: Reid, Lancaster, Finney.
Hull City: Wilson, Harper, Greaves, Edwards, Whittle, Whitney, Boldey, Joyce, Harris, Eyre, Brown (Wood 75), Subs not used: Bracey, Schofield, Morley, Quigley.
Referee: F.Stretton (Nottingham).

A controversial refereeing decision robbed Chester of three vital points, as a Siggi Eyjolfsson shot on 40 minutes appeared to cross the line after hitting the bar. There were admissions from Hull players after the game that the ball had crossed the line.

After the game manager Atkins said: "When you score goals you expect them to be given. You look to the referee and the linesman to do their jobs properly and a poor decision has cost us a couple of points. That's the rub of the green. Perhaps Siggy should have put the ball into the net first time from where he was. But I don't think anyone can deny that we deserved to win that game. We created some top class chances and Siggy was magnificent."

For once City's defence looked in control with Hull only having one real chance of note as Jason Harris headed over in the 65th minute from 10 yards.

Eyjolfsson was at the centre of all City best chances, setting up Luke Beckett on 77 minutes but the striker was guilty of a bad miss putting the ball wide of the post. And in the last minute the Icelandic forward set up Darren Moss whose shot was well blocked by Steve Wilson in the visitors' goal.

Saturday 5 February 2000
Rochdale 2
Chester City 1

Rochdale: Gibson, Evans, Monington, Bayliss, Stokes, Flitcroft (Ford 82), Peake, Jones, Bettney, Lancashire, Ellis (Platt 62). Subs not used: Priestley, Atkinson, Carden.
Chester City: Brown, Pickering (Moss 58), Woods, Robinson, Hobson, Fisher (Doughty 58), Porter, Keister, Hemmings (Eve 72), Eyjolesson, Beckett. Subs not used: Richardson, Wright.
Referee: J.Robinson (Hull).

A heartbreaking end to a match that City for their battling second half performance deserved, and should have got, a point from.

City should have been dead and buried by half-time as their non-existent defence allowed Dale too much room on the ball. Time after time the home wingers were allowed to turn inside and deliver crosses with City's back four failing to get stuck in. One notable exception was new skipper Gary Hobson, who, once again gave a sterling performance. City's midfield of John Keister and new signing Andy Porter didn't get in the game at all.

City had the better of the opening minutes with Siggi Eyjolfsson putting Luke Beckett through but he delayed his shot and failed to test rookie goalkeeper Paul Gibson.

Dale took the lead on nine minutes though former City loan-player Graham Lancashire. Ally Pickering, not for the first time, allowed winger Chris Bettney time to run down the left, stop, turn inside and deliver a pinpoint cross onto Lancashire's head. The little striker lost his marker and glanced the ball into the far corner leaving Wayne Brown flat footed.

Dale almost doubled their lead, Tony Ellis raced though on goal only for Wayne Brown to race out and save at the strikers feet Brown made a telling save again from a left wing free kick as Tony Ellis had a shot cleared off the line by Porter, Monnington also had a header cleared off the line by Beckett as Dale applied the pressure.

Cioty had a goldedn chance to equalise against the run of play. Hemmings fed Hobson down the left and his cross was headed wide by Jamie Robinson from eight yards out.

Following the break manager Ian Atkins made a tactical change. On came young full backs Darren Moss and Matt Doughty, for Neil Fisher and Pickering, and City now with three at the back became a different proposition.

Gibson saved well, low down near the post, from a shot by Eyjolfsson, and Bayliss was on hand to prevent a debut goal by Porter by clearing his shot off the line.

Brown saved well from Jones before City levelled the scores with a fantastic goal from Luke Beckett. Eyjolfsson fed striker on the half way line and Beckett then sent Angus Eve away on the right. Eve raced down the wing before delivering a perfect cross onto Becketts head for the striker to finish in style.

The noise and celebrations from the 672 visiting fans was tremendous as a beaming Beckett ran round to greet them, minus his shirt!

City paid a cruel price however with just two minutes left as they conceeded yet another needless free kick. Peake crossed the ball into the box which bobbled around before Bayliss hooked the ball home.

© 1997-2008 Steve Mansley | User Stats | Technical | Webmaster
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